Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to Finance the American Jobs Act - Obama Speech Transcript

Obama's Speech On how to finance the American Jobs Act

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat.
A week ago today, I sent Congress the American Jobs Act. It’s a plan that will lead to new jobs for teachers, for construction workers, for veterans, and for the unemployed. It will cut taxes for every small business owner and virtually every working man and woman in America. And the proposals in this jobs bill are the kinds that have been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. So there shouldn’t be any reason for Congress to drag its feet. They should pass it right away. I'm ready to sign a bill. I've got the pens all ready.
Now, as I said before, Congress should pass this bill knowing that every proposal is fully paid for. The American Jobs Act will not add to our nation’s debt. And today, I’m releasing a plan that details how to pay for the jobs bill while also paying down our debt over time.
And this is important, because the health of our economy depends in part on what we do right now to create the conditions where businesses can hire and middle-class families can feel a basic measure of economic security. But in the long run, our prosperity also depends on our ability to pay down the massive debt we’ve accumulated over the past decade in a way that allows us to meet our responsibilities to each other and to the future.
During this past decade, profligate spending in Washington, tax cuts for multi-millionaires and billionaires, the cost of two wars, and the recession turned a record surplus into a yawning deficit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs. If we don’t act, that burden will ultimately fall on our children’s shoulders. If we don’t act, the growing debt will eventually crowd out everything else, preventing us from investing in things like education, or sustaining programs like Medicare.
So Washington has to live within its means. The government has to do what families across this country have been doing for years. We have to cut what we can’t afford to pay for what really matters. We need to invest in what will promote hiring and economic growth now while still providing the confidence that will come with a plan that reduces our deficits over the long-term.
These principles were at the heart of the deficit framework that I put forward in April. It was an approach to shrink the deficit as a share of the economy, but not to do so so abruptly with spending cuts that would hamper growth or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet.
It was an approach that said we need to go through the budget line-by-line looking for waste, without shortchanging education and basic scientific research and road construction, because those things are essential to our future. And it was an approach that said we shouldn't balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class; that for us to solve this problem, everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share.
Now, during the debt ceiling debate, I had hoped to negotiate a compromise with the Speaker of the House that fulfilled these principles and achieved the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that leaders in both parties have agreed we need -- a grand bargain that would have strengthened our economy, instead of weakened it. Unfortunately, the Speaker walked away from a balanced package. What we agreed to instead wasn’t all that grand. But it was a start -- roughly $1 trillion in cuts to domestic spending and defense spending.
Everyone knows we have to do more, and a special joint committee of Congress is assigned to find more deficit reduction. So, today, I’m laying out a set of specific proposals to finish what we started this summer -- proposals that live up to the principles I’ve talked about from the beginning. It’s a plan that reduces our debt by more than $4 trillion, and achieves these savings in a way that is fair -- by asking everybody to do their part so that no one has to bear too much of the burden on their own.
All told, this plan cuts $2 in spending for every dollar in new revenues. In addition to the $1 trillion in spending that we’ve already cut from the budget, our plan makes additional spending cuts that need to happen if we’re to solve this problem. We reform agricultural subsidies -- subsidies that a lot of times pay large farms for crops that they don't grow. We make modest adjustments to federal retirement programs. We reduce by tens of billions of dollars the tax money that goes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We also ask the largest financial firms -- companies saved by tax dollars during the financial crisis -- to repay the American people for every dime that we spent. And we save an additional $1 trillion as we end the wars in Iraq andAfghanistan.
These savings are not only counted as part of our plan, but as part of the budget plan that nearly every Republican on the House voted for.
Finally, this plan includes structural reforms to reduce the cost of health care in programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Keep in mind we've already included a number of reforms in the health care law, which will go a long way towards controlling these costs. But we're going to have to do a little more. This plan reduces wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments while changing some incentives that often lead to excessive health care costs. It makes prescriptions more affordable through faster approval of generic drugs. We’ll work with governors to make Medicaid more efficient and more accountable. And we’ll change the way we pay for health care. Instead of just paying for procedures, providers will be paid more when they improve results -- and such steps will save money and improve care.
These changes are phased in slowly to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid over time. Because while we do need to reduce health care costs, I’m not going to allow that to be an excuse for turning Medicare into a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry. And I'm not going to stand for balancing the budget by denying or reducing health care for poor children or those with disabilities. So we will reform Medicare and Medicaid, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment that this country has kept for generations.
And by the way, that includes our commitment to Social Security. I've said before, Social Security is not the primary cause of our deficits, but it does face long-term challenges as our country grows older. And both parties are going to need to work together on a separate track to strengthen Social Security for our children and our grandchildren.
So this is how we can reduce spending: by scouring the budget for every dime of waste and inefficiency, by reforming government spending, and by making modest adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid. But all these reductions in spending, by themselves, will not solve our fiscal problems. We can’t just cut our way out of this hole. It’s going to take a balanced approach. If we’re going to make spending cuts -- many of which we wouldn’t make if we weren’t facing such large budget deficits -- then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.
You know, last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner gave a speech about the economy. And to his credit, he made the point that we can’t afford the kind of politics that says it’s “my way or the highway.” I was encouraged by that. Here’s the problem: In that same speech, he also came out against any plan to cut the deficit that includes any additional revenues whatsoever. He said -- I'm quoting him -- there is “only one option.” And that option and only option relies entirely on cuts. That means slashing education, surrendering the research necessary to keep America’s technological edge in the 21st century, and allowing our critical public assets like highways and bridges and airports to get worse. It would cripple our competiveness and our ability to win the jobs of the future. And it would also mean asking sacrifice of seniors and the middle class and the poor, while asking nothing of the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.
So the Speaker says we can’t have it "my way or the highway," and then basically says, my way -- or the highway. (Laughter.) That’s not smart. It’s not right. If we’re going to meet our responsibilities, we have to do it together.
Now, I’m proposing real, serious cuts in spending. When you include the $1 trillion in cuts I’ve already signed into law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spending in our history. But they’ve got to be part of a larger plan that’s balanced –- a plan that asks the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share, just like everybody else.
And that’s why this plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations –- tax breaks that small businesses and middle-class families don’t get. And if tax reform doesn't get done, this plan asks the wealthiest Americans to go back to paying the same rates that they paid during the 1990s, before the Bush tax cuts.
I promise it’s not because anybody looks forward to the prospects of raising taxes or paying more taxes. I don’t. In fact, I’ve cut taxes for the middle class and for small businesses, and through the American Jobs Act, we’d cut taxes again to promote hiring and put more money into the pockets of people. But we can’t afford these special lower rates for the wealthy -– rates, by the way, that were meant to be temporary. Back when these first -- these tax cuts, back in 2001, 2003, were being talked about, they were talked about temporary measures. We can’t afford them when we’re running these big deficits.
Now, I am also ready to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform our entire tax code, to get rid of the decades of accumulated loopholes, special interest carve-outs, and other tax expenditures that stack the deck against small business owners and ordinary families who can’t afford Washington lobbyists or fancy accountants. Our tax code is more than 10,000 pages long. If you stack up all the volumes, they’re almost five feet tall. That means that how much you pay often depends less on what you make and more on how well you can game the system, and that's especially true of the corporate tax code.
We’ve got one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, but it’s riddled with exceptions and special interest loopholes. So some companies get out paying a lot of taxes, while the rest of them end up having to foot the bill. And this makes our entire economy less competitive and our country a less desirable place to do business.
That has to change. Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies with the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest in the United States of America and create jobs in the United States of America. And we can lower the corporate rate if we get rid of all these special deals.
So I am ready, I am eager, to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform the tax code to make it simpler, make it fairer, and make America more competitive. But any reform plan will have to raise revenue to help close our deficit. That has to be part of the formula. And any reform should follow another simple principle: Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that. Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There is no justification for it.
It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness -- explain why somebody who's making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that -- paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.
Now, we’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of loopholes saying this is just “class warfare.” I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the right the thing to do. I believe the American middle class, who've been pressured relentlessly for decades, believe it’s time that they were fought for as hard as the lobbyists and some lawmakers have fought to protect special treatment for billionaires and big corporations.
Nobody wants to punish success in America. What’s great about this country is our belief that anyone can make it and everybody should be able to try -– the idea that any one of us can open a business or have an idea and make us millionaires or billionaires. This is the land of opportunity. That’s great. All I’m saying is that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible. We shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families get. And I think most wealthy Americans would agree if they knew this would help us grow the economy and deal with the debt that threatens our future.
It comes down to this: We have to prioritize. Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount -- by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.
Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get. We can’t afford to do both.
This is not class warfare. It’s math. (Laughter.) The money is going to have to come from someplace. And if we’re not willing to ask those who've done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit and we are trying to reach that same target of $4 trillion, then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more: We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor. We’ve got to scale back on the investments that have always helped our economy grow. We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate airports, and schools that are crumbling.
That’s unacceptable to me. That’s unacceptable to the American people. And it will not happen on my watch. I will not support -- I will not support -- any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.
None of the changes I’m proposing are easy or politically convenient. It’s always more popular to promise the moon and leave the bill for after the next election or the election after that. That’s been true since our founding. George Washington grappled with this problem. He said, “Towards the payment of debts, there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; [and] no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.” He understood that dealing with the debt is -- these are his words -- “always a choice of difficulties.” But he also knew that public servants weren’t elected to do what was easy; they weren’t elected to do what was politically advantageous. It’s our responsibility to put country before party. It’s our responsibility to do what’s right for the future.
And that’s what this debate is about. It’s not about numbers on a ledger; it’s not about figures on a spreadsheet. It’s about the economic future of this country, and it’s about whether we will do what it takes to create jobs and growth and opportunity while facing up to the legacy of debt that threatens everything we’ve built over generations.
And it’s also about fairness. It’s about whether we are, in fact, in this together, and we’re looking out for one another. We know what’s right. It’s time to do what’s right.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
11:16 A.M. EDT 

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Commentary 10 years Later

Myth And Reality After 911- Victor David Hanson

Al-Qaeda's zealots of yesteryear turning to politics, democracy - Doug Sanders Cananda's Globe and Mail

U.S. Now Less Secure, Less Free - Doug Bandow Japan Times

Events since 9/11 vindicate Bush Doctrine - Michael Jergenson Miami Herald (Washington Post)

U.S. Survived predictions of doom - Nick Bryant Real Clear World

Sept. 11's Self Inflicted Wounds - George F. Will Washington Post

Iran's Leader says US planned attacks - Newsweek Report

The Decade At War - Robert Haddick Financial Times

Protecting America A cost benefit Perspective - Doyle McManus Los Angeles Times

What if 9/11 never happened - The Daily Beast Nial Ferguson

The Worst Mistake America Made After 9/11 - Anne Applebaum Slate

Simply Evil - Christopher Hitchens Slate

Washington Times Investigative Report  (IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATIVE REPORT)

Our Foreign Policy Blind Spots - Democracy Journal Leslie H. Gelb

The Middle East Ten Years After 9/11 - Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism Rami Khouri

The Spirit of September 12 - Project Syndicate Michael Mandelbaum

China's Chance: How 9/11 played into Beijing's plans in Asia

Reflections on 9/11 and its aftermath - Global Public Square Fareed Zakaria

The Next Ten Years of Al-Qaeda -The National Interest Zalmay Khalilzad

The Uncontrollable Momentum of War - New York Times Rory Stewart

9/11 What Didn't Change -  Mother Jones David Corn

The 9/11 President - The American Prospect Steve Erickson

The Iraq War Will cost Us $3 Trillion and Much More - Washington Post Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes (3/9/2008)

A world without 9/11: No President Obama, more China trouble, same debt crisis

The West is still paying the price of 9/11 - UK Telegraph

Payback feels right, but leads to more terrorism - Bloomberg Robert Wright

Success and excess mark the decade since 9/11 -  USA Today

Jonathan Kay on 9/11: How the tradgedy made Cnada a bolder, prouder nation - National Post

This Decade at War: Foreign Policy Robert Haddick

Did Osama Win? -  Andrew Sullivan The Daily Beast

The Smart Approach to Counterterrorism By Hillary Clinton

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to - John Jay School of Criminal Justice
New York, New York

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much, President Travis. And it is, for me, a great personal pleasure to be in this new facility for John Jay. I had the opportunity to visit John Jay when it wasn’t quite as light-filled as this atrium is but knowing that it was always fulfilling its mission. And to come back here today to be with all of you is a singular honor.

I’m also very honored to be here with so many friends and colleagues, people who I had the great experience of working with over the last ten years as a senator, now as Secretary of State, people who made a real difference to this city, this state, the country, and indeed the world. And I think about our time together and the work that we did, and it fills me with great gratitude that I had such an opportunity to be just a small part of what so many of you have done in the days and years since 9/11.

I know that this is a time when we are meeting here in New York amid a looking-back as well as a looking-forward, and with the news last night of a specific credible, but unconfirmed, report that al-Qaida again is seeking to harm Americans and, in particular, to target New York and Washington. This should not surprise any of us. It is a continuing reminder of the stakes in our struggle against violent extremism no matter who propagates it, no matter where it comes from, no matter who its targets might be. We are taking this threat seriously. Federal, state, and local authorities are taking all steps to address it.

And of course, making it public, as was done yesterday, is intended to enlist the millions and millions of New Yorkers and Americans to be the eyes and the ears of vigilance. Of course, people should proceed with their lives and do what they would do ordinarily, but to be part of this great network of unity and support against those who would wreak violence and evil on innocent people.

I could not think of a better place to discuss this topic than here at John Jay. For decades you have trained many of New York’s leaders in law enforcement and public service, including many who are working right now around the clock to keep our cities safe and secure during this anniversary weekend. And as President Travis has reminded us, ten years ago, John Jay lost more students and alumni, many of them first responders, than any other educational institution in the country. And you became one of the few institutions to offer a master’s program in the study of terrorism. Because as John Jay has recognized, the way we understand the meaning of that terrible day, which brought out the best of humanity alongside the worst, will help determine how we meet the continuing challenge of terrorism, which remains an urgent question not only for the United States, but indeed for the world.

This memorial, which is fashioned from steel salvaged from the north tower will serve as a reminder here at John Jay of what this city and our country went through not only on 9/11 with the memories of the twisted girders and the shattered beams looming above the pile, not only the faces and images of firefighters and police officers and construction workers and volunteers who responded immediately and who stayed to dig through the rubble, but it will also remind us of the resilience of our city and our country and the fortitude that we have shown in picking ourselves up, going on with our lives, and dealing with the serious questions we face.

When I first visited Ground Zero on September 12th with Senator Schumer and Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki, the air was thick, and many of us wore masks that were meant to protect us who were only there for a matter of hours from what was in the air. But as I watched the firefighters emerging from the – behind the curtain of darkness, the soot that covered them, they weren’t wearing masks; they were focused on the job in front of them. When I returned a week later, the rescuers were still there. It was raining that day, but they hadn’t stopped. They stayed right there looking for their comrades, looking for the hundreds of others whom they never had known in life but would try to recover in death.

At a family assistance center on Pier 94, I began to meet with and work with families who were cradling photos of their missing loved ones. There are some wounds that never fully heal that we all live with for the rest of our lives, and there are those who have shown how strong they have been in the face of their pain and their loss and have moved forward to lead with new purpose to help build a better future.

There were not very many survivors, as you remember, but I tried to meet with them. I remember visiting one at St. Vincent’s who had been so profoundly injured by a part of the airplane falling on her. I remember going to the rehabilitation center up in Westchester where a number of the burn victims had been moved. I was very honored to work with these survivors, one of whom, Lauren Manning, has been very much front and center in my mind because of the book that she has just published, and her husband Greg, who is with us. Although she was badly burned, through fierce willpower and character, she fought her way back and reclaimed her life. And now she and Greg have two wonderful young sons. In her book, Lauren writes that we may all, in fact, we all will be touched by adversity as we go on our life’s journey, but we can refuse to be trapped by it.

And that is what emerged so powerfully on September 11th and all the days that followed – compassion, courage, and character as strong as one can imagine and even stronger than the steel that were in the towers. We learned something about what makes this city great and what makes this country exceptional.

New Yorkers worked hard to sustain that spirit. Sally Regenhard went to work to make sure that her son Christian would be remembered and that his death would lead to changes in the way that we build skyscrapers, and the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies is here at John Jay. Jay Winuk and David Paine, in memory of Jay’s brother, began My Good Deed. And now hundreds of thousands of Americans and people around the world are trying to channel their remembrance into positive acts on behalf of others. Dr. David Prezant and Dr. Kerry Kelly from the fire department immediately understood what was necessary to track the health of our firefighters and began to compile the most extraordinary record of what happened to those who were there every day and the price that they paid, even though they would not take back a second of what they did.

So we have some examples of those who have helped us make sense of what is almost beyond understanding. And New Yorkers worked hard to sustain that spirit as the days turned into months and then years. The young man who was my press secretary at the time, after going down to Ground Zero with me, going to meet family members, volunteered for the military. Thousands signed up for the fire and police departments, and we did come together to help those who grew sick as a result of their time at Ground Zero. And this week, a new medical study has documented the high rates of cancer among New York firefighters exposed there. So the work is not done. We still have heroes to honor, friends to care for, family to love. And there is also other unfinished business for us as a nation.

On that day, Americans pledged to do everything in our power to prevent another attack and to defeat the terrorists responsible. As a senator from New York, I stood with the 9/11 families who called for a commission to investigate the attacks and recommend reforms. Then we worked together to begin implementing them.

Ten years later, we have made important strides. Our government is better organized. Our defenses are safer than on 9/11. But we still face real threats, as we see today, and there is more work to be done. As the members of the 9/11 Commission recently reported, a number of their major recommendations remain unfulfilled. For example, much-needed radio frequencies have not yet been allotted to first responders to allow them to communicate effectively in a crisis – an issue that I worked on for years in the Senate and is long overdue for completion.

As President Obama has said over the last decade, our government also sometimes went off course, failed to live up to our own values, but we never lost sight of our mission, and we set aside those detours to stay focused, and we made progress. As we move forward, we are determined not to let the specter of terrorism darken the national character that has always been America’s greatest asset.

The United States has thrived as an open society, a principled nation, and a global leader. And we cannot and will not live in fear, sacrifice our values, or pull back from the world. Closing our borders, for example, might keep out some who would do us harm, but it would also deprive us entrepreneurs, ideas, and energy, things that help define who we are as a nation, and ensure our global leadership for years to come.

Before 9/11, the commission found that America did not adapt quickly enough to new and different kinds of threats, and it is imperative that we not make that mistake again. It is also imperative that we adapt just as quickly to new kinds of opportunities, that we not be paralyzed or preoccupied by the threats we face, that we not squander our strengths.

So we keep our focus not only on what we are fighting against – on the terrorist networks that attacked us that day and continue to threaten us – but also on what we are fighting for – for our values of tolerance and equality and opportunity, for universal rights and the rule of law, for the opportunity of children everywhere to live up to their God-given potential. That’s a fight we can be confident of and a mission we can be proud of. So today, after a decade of learning the lessons of 9/11, let’s take stock of where we stand and where we need to go as a nation.

We find ourselves in a moment of historic change and opportunity. The war in Iraq is winding down. The war in Afghanistan has entered a transition phase. Millions of people are pushing their nations to move away from repression that has long fueled resentment and extremism. They are embracing universal human rights and dignity. And this has discredited the extremist argument that only violence can bring about change. Against this backdrop, the death of Usama bin Ladin has put al-Qaida on the path to defeat. And as President Obama has pledged, we will not relent until that job is done.

Earlier this summer, the Administration released its National Strategy for Counterterrorism. It makes very clear we face both a short-term and a long-term challenge. First, to keep up the pressure on al-Qaida and its network. Second, to face down the murderous ideology that fueled bin Ladin’s rise and that continues to incite violence around the world. To meet these challenges, our methods must match this unique moment. And we need to apply hard-learned lessons.

We have seen that precise and persistent force can significantly degrade even an enemy as elusive as al-Qaida. So we will continue to go after its leaders and commanders, disrupt their operations and bring them to justice.

But we’ve also learned that to truly defeat a terror network, we need to attack its finances, recruitment, and safe havens. We need to take on its ideology, counter its propaganda, and diminish its appeal, so that every community recognizes the threat that extremists pose to them and they then deny them protection and support. And we need effective international partners in government and civil society who can extend this effort to all the places where terrorists operate.

To achieve these ends requires smart power, a strategy that integrates all our foreign policy tools – diplomacy and development hand-in-hand with defense – and that advances our values and the rule of law. We are waging a broad, sustained, and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power against terrorism. And even as we remain tightly focused on the terrorist network that attacked us 10 years ago, we’re also thinking about the next 10 years and beyond, about the next threats, about that long-term ideological challenge that requires us to dig deeply into and rely upon our most cherished values.

I want to speak briefly about these elements of our strategy. First, the operational side: You all know about the bin Ladin raid. It was 10 years in coming. It was a great tribute to the thousands of Americans and others around the world who worked with us. The United States has made great strides over the past decade in capturing or killing terrorists and disrupting cells and conspiracies. In line with the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, we’ve broken down bureaucratic walls so we can act on threats quickly and effectively. We’ve also taken steps to protect against new cyber dangers and to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. That remains the gravest threat facing our country and the world. I will not go through all of our actions on this front.

We have talked about the necessity of bringing the world together around a common cause of preventing the proliferation of nuclear material into the hands of extremists. And President Obama held the first-ever Nuclear Security Summit to try to enlist leaders from across the world for this common goal. As we pursue our campaign on these various fronts, we will always maintain our right to use force against groups such as al-Qaida that have attacked us and still threaten us with imminent violence. In doing so, we will stay true to our values and respect the rule of law, including international law principles guiding the use of force in self-defense, respect for the sovereignty of other states, and the laws of armed conflict.

When we capture al-Qaida members, we detain them humanely and consistent with international standards. And when we do strike, we seek to protect innocent civilians from harm. Terrorists, of course, do exactly the opposite. And just as we will not shy away from using military force as needed, we will also use the full range of law enforcement tools. Those who argued in the past that the fight against terrorism was a military matter and not appropriate for law enforcement posed a false choice. It is and it must be both. Look at the superb work that the New York Police Department has done to keep this city safe over the last 10 years and the work they are doing again today.

This also means putting terrorists on trial in civilian courts, which have time and again shown their effectiveness at convicting terrorists, including many right here in New York, without endangering our local population. And we will use, where appropriate, reformed military commissions, because a lawful system that makes use of both civilian courts and reformed military commissions sends an important message to the world that the rule of law plays an essential role in confronting terrorism, and that it works.

In fact, the AP just did a recent study that there have been 120,000 arrests around the world in the last 10 years of terrorists, and 35,000 convictions. Thanks to our military intelligence and law enforcement efforts over the last decade, al-Qaida’s leadership ranks have been devastated. Virtually every major affiliate has lost key operatives, including al-Qaida’s number two just this last month.

But we must be clear about the threat that remains. Cities such as London and Lahore, Madrid, and Mumbai have been attacked since 9/11. Recently, Abuja was added to this list. Thousands of innocent people, the majority of whom are Muslims, have been killed. And we know, as we have known for 10 years, that despite our best efforts, there is no such thing as perfect security. So while we have significantly weakened al-Qaida’s core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, today we are reminded they can still conduct regional and international attacks and inspire others to do so. And the threat has become more geographically diverse, with much of al-Qaida’s activity devolving to its affiliates around the world. I have long described al-Qaida as a syndicate of terror, not a monolith, and this is becoming truer every day.

For example, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is reaching far beyond its base in Yemen and seeking to carry out attacks like its attempts to bring down cargo and passenger planes bound for the United States. Other extremist groups in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan not only continue to protect al-Qaida’s remaining leadership; they are plotting attacks like the failed Times Square bombing. And from Somalia, al-Shabaab is looking to carry out more strikes like last July’s suicide bombings that killed 76 people in Uganda during the World Cup.

So even as we mark the progress we have achieved, which has been substantial since 9/11, we cannot afford to ignore these continuing dangers. We need to take a smart and strategic approach that recognizes that violent extremism is bound up with nearly all of today’s other complex global problems. It can take root in zones of crisis and poverty, flourish under repression and in the absence of the rule of law, spark hatreds among communities that have lived side by side for generations, and exploit conflict within and between states.

These are all challenges that we face in the 21st century, and they demand global cooperation and, first and foremost, American leadership. So just as counterterrorism cannot be the sole focus of our foreign policy, it does not make sense to view counterterrorism in a vacuum. It must be integrated into our broader diplomatic and development agendas. And we should appreciate that while working to resolve conflicts, reduce poverty, and improve governance, those are valuable ends in themselves, but they also advance the cause of counterterrorism and national security. That is why I have more fully integrated the State Department and USAID into the fight.

We have emphasized innovation. For example, we are now using sophisticated new biometric screening tools to improve border security and the visa process, including electronic fingerprints, facial recognition, and on an experimental basis even iris scans.

We have renewed our alliances and forged new counterterrorism partnerships. Together, we are using all the tools in our arsenal to go after the support structure of al-Qaida, including finances, ideology, recruits, and safe havens.

This is not easy, of course, and we are clear-eyed about how much we can accomplish and how fast. But we will not stop until we do everything possible to prevent recruits and illegal transactions. And we will certainly not solve all the problems of every failed state, nor should we try. But we can make it harder for al-Qaida to fill its ranks and its coffers while ramping up pressure from new and more effective partners.

Let’s look at finances, because we know illicit cash pays for terrorist training camps, propaganda, and operations. So cutting off the money is essential. It’s a step toward shutting down the network itself. That’s why the United States worked with scores of countries to put in place tough new legislation and help many of them disrupt illicit financial networks. Because of the successes that we’ve had in this area, terrorists are moving out of the formal financial system and increasingly funding their operations through criminal activity, especially kidnapping for ransom. Many of those ransoms have been paid by governments, which only encourages more kidnapping and undermines our counterterrorism efforts. So we are urging our partners around the world to embrace a no-concessions policy.

Even more than the money, what sustains al-Qaida and its affiliates is the steady flow of new recruits. They replace the terrorists we kill or capture, and they plan new attacks. Over the last 10 years, we’ve learned about how al-Qaida and its affiliates find these new members, about the process of radicalization, and the community dynamics that offer them support and protection. Slowing recruitment is a difficult task, but it begins by undermining extremist appeal. And it continues with highly targeted interventions in recruiting hot spots. That’s one reason why the Administration has worked from its first days in office to restore our standing in the world, to bring our policies in line with our principles. This is not about winning a popularity contest. It’s a simple fact that achieving our objectives is easier with more friends and fewer enemies.

One of the first things I did after arriving at the State Department was to appoint a special representative to Muslim communities around the world and to step up our engagement in the most crucial media spaces. We put our people – especially Arabic, Urdu, Dari speakers – on key channels like Al Jazeera and others to explain U.S. policies and counter at least some of the widespread misinformation out there. There was this idea that it was – it would be a waste of our time to go on channels and go onto websites to refute and rebut what was being said, but we’re in a fight, and I’m not going to let people say things about us that are not true. If they want to say things about us that are true, we’ll explain that. But to make up stuff, to be accusing us of things that are totally outlandish and outrageous, was just unacceptable. You’re the only way we will get into the conversation where it matters most, and we have to show up. I sometimes get asked by members of Congress: I saw an American diplomat on X, Y, or Z; why? It’s because that’s where people are. That’s where we need to be. I make no apologies for that.

It is with this in mind that we developed and launched the new Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, which is tightly focused on undermining the terrorist propaganda and dissuading potential recruits. The center is housed at the State Department, but is a true whole-of-government endeavor. It has a mandate from the President. And as part of this effort, a group of tech savvy specialists – fluent in Urdu and Arabic – that we call the digital outreach team are contesting online space, media websites and forums where extremists have long spread propaganda and recruited followers. With timely posts, often of independent news reports, this team is working to expose al-Qaida’s and extremists’ contradictions and abuses, including its continuing brutal attacks on Muslim civilians. This effort is still small, but it is now growing.

Take, for example, a short video clip that the team put together earlier this year. First, we hear a recording of al-Qaida’s new leader, Zawahiri, claiming that peaceful action will never bring about change in the Middle East. Then we see footage of protests and celebrations in Egypt. The team posted this video on popular websites and stirred up a flurry of responses. Like “Zawahiri has no business with Egypt; we will solve our problems ourselves,” wrote one commentator on the website Egypt Forum. Another on Facebook said those are people no one listens to anymore. Now, we won’t change every mind with these tactics, but we know from extremists in our own country that they are recruited by and influenced by websites. So we’re going to do everything we can to be in that fight for their minds and their hearts, and we are ratcheting up the pressure.

Now, this playbook is still being written. But the more we learn about al-Qaida’s structure and methods, the more we have homed in on a number of specific recruiting hotspots, not just online but particular neighborhoods, villages, prisons, and schools. We have found that recruits tend to come in clusters, influenced by family and social networks. By focusing on these hotspots in cooperation with our partners, we can begin to disrupt the recruiting chain.

There is no silver bullet, to be sure, but the United States, especially USAID, has long experience with development projects that actually improve people’s lives, create new economic opportunities, increase confidence in local communities. We have seen around the world, including in certain areas of Pakistan and Yemen, that this kind of work can begin diminishing the appeal of extremism.

This is a job that calls for a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. So we are pursuing micro-strategies that include credible local leaders and are driven by local needs and informed by local knowledge. For example, in the triangle between Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia where famine and conflict have opened the door to extremists, we are exploring a new partnership with the Kenya Muslim Youth Association. They will organize small learning circles around mainstream religious scholars, who will help provide counseling to young people who have been radicalized. This is a small project, one of many we’re doing, but it’s taking on a big challenge, and it’s a start, and we will keep learning and adapting and keep convincing others to join with us.

Civil society and the private sector have important roles to play. Groups such as Sisters Against Violent Extremism, a group of women in 17 countries around the world who have risked their lives to tell terrorists that they are not welcome in their communities. They have written newspaper articles in Yemen, held workshops for young people in Indonesia, brought Indian and Pakistani women together to show a united front. These women know they will not stop extremism everywhere, but they refuse to sit on the sidelines. Local authorities and civil society often are better positioned than we are to provide services to their people, disrupt plots, and prosecute extremists, and they often bear the brunt of terrorist attacks.

Especially as a threat from al-Qaida becomes more diffuse, it is in the interest of the United States to forge closer ties with the governments and communities on the front lines and to help them build up their counterterrorism capacity. We need to expand our efforts to build an international counterterrorism network that is as nimble and adaptive as our adversaries’. So we have launched a diplomatic offensive to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on counterterrorism. We have a broad and ambitious agenda, and to carry out this work, I am upgrading our office devoted to counterterrorism to a full-fledged bureau within the State Department.

Last year the State Department trained nearly 7,000 law enforcement and counterterrorism officials from more than 60 countries. Working with the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, we have supported capacity building in Yemen, Pakistan, and other frontline states. Indonesia offers a good example of how this kind of partnership can pay off. When Jakarta decided to form an elite counterterrorism unit, the State Department provided training and equipment. Experts from the FBI and the Department of Justice shared their experience with police and prosecutors.

Indonesia’s invigorated law enforcement effort has disrupted plots, tracked down, arrested, and in some cases, killed al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist leaders, including some of those responsible for the Bali bombing. And Indonesian prosecutors and courts have successfully tried and convicted hundreds of terrorists. We need to expand this cooperation worldwide. As the foreign minister of the UAE wrote yesterday, we need a comprehensive global mission to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism.

But until now, there’s been no dedicated international venue to regularly convene key counterterrorism policy makers and practitioners from around the world. So later this month, we will take another significant step forward by establishing a new global counterterrorism forum. We’re bringing together traditional allies, emerging powers, and Muslim-majority countries around a shared counterterrorism mission in a way that’s never been done before. Turkey and the United States will serve as founding co-chairs and we will be joined by nearly 30 other nations. Together, we will work to identify threats and weaknesses, devise solutions, mobilize resources, share expertise and best practices.

This will improve international coordination, but it will also help countries address terrorist threats within their own borders and regions. We will work to eliminate safe havens and identify the most effective messages to counter violence extremism. The forum will assist countries that are transitioning from authoritarian rule to democracy and the rule of law. It will provide support as they write new counterterrorism legislation and train police, prosecutors, and judges to apply the laws in keeping with universal human rights.

So as we deepen our bilateral and multilateral counterterrorism relationships, the United States has clear expectations for our partners. In some cases, by necessity, we are working with nations with whom we have very little in common except for our desire to defeat al-Qaida and terrorism. We make it a point to underscore our concerns about upholding universal rights. We demonstrate through our own example the effectiveness of doing so.

Unfortunately, some countries, even some friends, allow their territory to remain relatively permissive operating environments for terrorist financiers and facilitators. And yet some who undermine our work by fomenting anti-Western sentiment and exporting extremist ideologies to other Muslim communities even as they try to battle terrorists in their own country. Funding madrassas that preach violence and recruit terrorists, distributing textbooks that teach hate, will only accelerate the growth of extremism. This is like planting weeds in your garden and then acting surprised when they choke the flowers. It is counter-productive and ultimately self-defeating, and we will continue to argue against such practices in public and private. We will work with others to extend the success we have had in disrupting the financing of terrorism and will do all I can to try to make sure that more and more countries join this fight.

So all the efforts I have described – the pressure on al-Qaida’s leaders, the campaign to deny it funding, recruits, and safe havens, the diplomatic effort to build local capacity and international cooperation – they have put al-Qaida on the defensive. But as important – in fact, even more important, I would argue – has been the blow delivered by the people themselves of the Middle East and North Africa. People across the region are charting a different course than the one that bin Ladin claimed was the only way forward. There is no better rebuke to al-Qaida and its hateful ideology. They are increasingly irrelevant in a region now more concerned with forming political parties than hearing another extremist rant.

It is true that the future is uncertain and it’s still possibly going to be exploited by extremists. Security forces are distracted and disorganized. Weapons are missing. We know from experience that democratic transitions can be hijacked by new autocrats or derailed by sectarians. How this moment plays out, and what happens in these transitions, will have profound consequences for our long-term struggle against violent extremism.

But we believe that democracies are better equipped than autocracies to stand up against terrorism for the long term. They offer constructive outlets for political grievances, they create opportunities for upward mobility and prosperity that are clear alternatives to violent extremism, and they tend to have, over time, more effective governing institutions. So it is very much in the interest of the United States to support the development of strong and stable democracies in the region. That is what we are doing, and we are trying to assist both the people and the transitional governments to create economic opportunity and embrace the rule of law.

And it is equally important that the United States continues to live up to our own best values and traditions. The people of these nations are looking at us with fresh eyes, and we need to make sure they see us as a source of opportunity and hope, as a partner, not an adversary.

So as we stand here on the brink of the anniversary of 9/11, we can remember how the world rallied around us in our very difficult time. And we can recall that many were long accustomed to distrusting us, but they reacted on a human level to such an unimaginable crime. We came together as a nation, with a sense of purpose and unity. There were no lines dividing us. We celebrated our diversity – including the many contributions of Muslim Americans – and we showed deep compassion that has always been at the core of the American character.

Today the world is watching us again and seeing whether we will summon up that spirit, that core American spirit, to meet the many challenges that face us here at home and around the world. I am honored to represent our country in every place on the globe. America is exceptional. We are exceptional for our creativity and our openness. We draw people from everywhere. We are exceptional for our unwavering commitment to secure a more just and peaceful world, for our willingness, especially when it matters most, to put the common good ahead of ideology, party, or personal interest.

American leadership is still revered and required. And when old adversaries need an honest broker or fundamental freedoms need a champion, the international community looks to us. When a famine threatens the lives of millions in East Africa or floods sweep across Pakistan, people look to America. They see what we sometimes miss amid all the noise coming out of Washington: America is and remains a beacon of freedom, a guarantor of global security, a true opportunity society, a place to excel, a country of possibility where ideas hatched in a college dorm room can grow into a multibillion dollar business.

The source of our greatness is more durable than many people seem to realize. Yes, our military is by far the strongest and our economy is by far the largest. Our workers are the most productive. Our universities, like this one, are the gold standard. Our values are solid. But we have real challenges, and we have to step up and deal with them. But there should be no doubt that America has the capacity to grow our economy, solve our problems, and renew our global leadership.

Ultimately, this doesn’t rest on the shoulders of a president or a secretary of state alone. It rests on the shoulders of the American people. We have to be ready to recapture that spirit of service and solidarity and to find the common ground that unites us as Americans. We have to be ready to recommit to the project of building our country together. I think we’re prepared to believe that we have no limits to what we can achieve if we do just that. I believe we’re ready.

But I also know that if we want to be the country that we believe in, that we find to be so attractive and aspirational, then we have to accept responsibility and we have to be ready, because more than the daring night raids or the successful prosecutions or the persistent diplomacy or the targeted development, what will keep us safe and keep us strong and keep us great is each of us signing on to be part of that American future.

Thank you all very much.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Remarks to Press On Wikieaks

Remarks to the Press on Release of Purportedly Confidential Documents by Wikileaks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
November 29, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon. Do we have enough room in here? I want to take a moment to discuss the recent news reports of classified documents that were illegally provided from United States Government computers. In my conversations with counterparts from around the world over the past few days, and in my meeting earlier today with Foreign Minister Davutoglu of Turkey, I have had very productive discussions on this issue.

The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems. This Administration is advancing a robust foreign policy that is focused on advancing America’s national interests and leading the world in solving the most complex challenges of our time, from fixing the global economy, to thwarting international terrorism, to stopping the spread of catastrophic weapons, to advancing human rights and universal values. In every country and in every region of the world, we are working with partners to pursue these aims.

So let’s be clear: this disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations, that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.

I am confident that the partnerships that the Obama Administration has worked so hard to build will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority – and we are proud of the progress that they have helped achieve – and they will remain at the center of our efforts.

I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations. I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington. Our policy is a matter of public record, as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world.

I would also add that to the American people and to our friends and partners, I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information. I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department, in addition to new security safeguards at the Department of Defense and elsewhere to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again.

Relations between governments aren’t the only concern created by the publication of this material. U.S. diplomats meet with local human rights workers, journalists, religious leaders, and others outside of governments who offer their own candid insights. These conversations also depend on trust and confidence. For example, if an anti-corruption activist shares information about official misconduct, or a social worker passes along documentation of sexual violence, revealing that person’s identity could have serious repercussions: imprisonment, torture, even death.

So whatever are the motives in disseminating these documents, it is clear that releasing them poses real risks to real people, and often to the very people who have dedicated their own lives to protecting others.

Now, I am aware that some may mistakenly applaud those responsible, so I want to set the record straight: There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends.

There have been examples in history in which official conduct has been made public in the name of exposing wrongdoings or misdeeds. This is not one of those cases. In contrast, what is being put on display in this cache of documents is the fact that American diplomats are doing the work we expect them to do. They are helping identify and prevent conflicts before they start. They are working hard every day to solve serious practical problems – to secure dangerous materials, to fight international crime, to assist human rights defenders, to restore our alliances, to ensure global economic stability. This is the role that America plays in the world. This is the role our diplomats play in serving America. And it should make every one of us proud.

The work of our diplomats doesn’t just benefit Americans, but also billions of others around the globe. In addition to endangering particular individuals, disclosures like these tear at the fabric of the proper function of responsible government.

People of good faith understand the need for sensitive diplomatic communications, both to protect the national interest and the global common interest. Every country, including the United States, must be able to have candid conversations about the people and nations with whom they deal. And every country, including the United States, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries about issues of common concern. I know that diplomats around the world share this view – but this is not unique to diplomacy. In almost every profession – whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off for it. And so despite some of the rhetoric we’ve heard these past few days, confidential communications do not run counter to the public interest. They are fundamental to our ability to serve the public interest.

In America, we welcome genuine debates about pressing questions of public policy. We have elections about them. That is one of the greatest strengths of our democracy. It is part of who we are and it is a priority for this Administration. But stealing confidential documents and then releasing them without regard for the consequences does not serve the public good, and it is not the way to engage in a healthy debate.

In the past few days, I have spoken with many of my counterparts around the world, and we have all agreed that we will continue to focus on the issues and tasks at hand. In that spirit, President Obama and I remain committed to productive cooperation with our partners as we seek to build a better, more prosperous world for all.

Thank you, and I’d be glad to take a few questions.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll begin with Charlie Wolfson of CBS in his last week here covering the State Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Where are you going, Charlie?

QUESTION: I’ll (inaudible) into the sunset, but let me get to a question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, sir. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, are you embarrassed by these leaks personally, professionally? And what harm have the leaks done to the U.S. so far that you can determine from talking to your colleagues?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, as I said in my statement, and based on the many conversations that I’ve had with my counterparts, I am confident that the partnerships and relationships that we have built in this Administration will withstand this challenge. The President and I have made these partnerships a priority, a real centerpiece of our foreign policy, and we’re proud of the progress that we have made over the last 22 months.

Every single day, U.S. Government representatives from the entire government, not just from the State Department, engage with hundreds if not thousands of government representatives and members of civil society from around the world. They carry out the goals and the interests and the values of the United States. And it is imperative that we have candid reporting from those who are in the field working with their counterparts in order to inform our decision-making back here in Washington.

I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, “Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.” (Laughter.) So I think that this is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take. And I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals.

MR. CROWLEY: Kim Ghattas of BBC.


QUESTION: Madam Secretary, I was wondering whether you could tell us what you think your upcoming trip is going to look like. Presumably, a lot of the people who have been mentioned in those alleged cables are going to have conversations with you. Do you think it’s going to cause you discomfort over the coming week as you engage in conversations with those leaders?

And I know you don’t want to comment on the particulars of the cables, but one issue that has been brought up into the daylight is the debate about Iran. What do you think the impact is going to be of those documents on the debate about Iran in the coming weeks and months?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, you’re right. And I don’t know if you’re going on this trip or not, but we will be seeing dozens of my counterparts in Astana, and then as I go on from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and then ending up in Bahrain for the Manama dialogue. And I will continue the conversations that I have started with some in person and over the phone over the last days, and I will seek out others because I want personally to impress upon them the importance that I place on the kind of open, productive discussions that we have had to date and my intention to continue working closely with them.

Obviously, this is a matter of great concern, because we don’t want anyone in any of the countries that could be affected by these alleged leaks here to have any doubts about our intentions and our about commitments. That’s why I stressed in my remarks that policy is made in Washington. The President and I have been very clear about our goals and objectives in dealing with the full range of global challenges that we face. And we will continue to be so and we will continue to look for every opportunity to work with our friends and partners and allies around the world and to deal in a very clear-eyed way with those with whom we have differences, which of course brings me to Iran.

I think that it should not be a surprise to anyone that Iran is a source of great concern not only in the United States, that what comes through in every meeting that I have anywhere in the world is a concern about Iranian actions and intentions. So if anything, any of the comments that are being reported on allegedly from the cables confirm the fact that Iran poses a very serious threat in the eyes of many of her neighbors, and a serious concern far beyond her region.

That is why the international community came together to pass the strongest possible sanctions against Iran. It did not happen because the United States went out and said, “Please do this for us.” It happened because countries, once they evaluated the evidence concerning Iran’s actions and intentions, reached the same conclusion that the United States reached – that we must do whatever we can to muster the international community to take action to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.

So if anyone reading the stories about these alleged cables thinks carefully, what they will conclude is that the concern about Iran is well founded, widely shared, and will continue to be at the source of the policy that we pursue with likeminded nations to try to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ve got to let the Secretary get to her airplane and get to her trip. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will leave you in P.J.’s very good hands. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, did you talk to anyone in Pakistan or India?


QUESTION: Thank you, Madam. (Inaudible).

MR. CROWLEY: What we’ll do is we’ll take, say, a 30-minute filing break, and then we’ll reconvene in the Briefing Room and continue our discussion.

PRN: 2010/1720

Interview with Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum

Interview with Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum

By Piers Morgan Tonight
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. Joining me now is Rick Santorum, former senator Pennsylvania, one of the crowded field of Republicans who aim to challenge Barack Obama in 2012.
Senator, thank you for joining me.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Piers. Good to be on.

MORGAN: I don't want to start on a defeater's note here. But the CNN poll on Monday had you at 1 percent of the vote to be the Republican nominee. You've got work to do, if you don't mind suggesting it.

SANTORUM: Well, look, I don't really care what the national polls say. They don't really matter at all at this point. The polls that matter are in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Those are the first three states. Folks from New York and California really don't have much of a say at this point and whether we're doing well there or not doesn't really matter.
We need to do well in Iowa. The most recent poll there, we went from -- I think we were around 2 percent to 3 percent. And the most recent poll has us at 7 percent or 8 percent as a result of our finish at Ames, and we've got a good grassroots organization on the ground there, and that's where we're spending our time and that's where we're getting the attention in front of the people and telling them our vision for how we're going to create jobs, how we're going to get this country moving again, how we're going to build on the strong moral traditions of our country and how to make our people safe.

MORGAN: How are you going to make yourself sexy on the national stage?

SANTORUM: You know, I'm not about making myself sexy on the national stage. It doesn't matter. I mean, you know, I know the media loves to talk about national stage and --

MORGAN: But it will matter. It will matter.

SANTORUM: Well, it -- ultimately it will. But, you know, I'll take that opportunity when the time comes. And the time is not now. The first primary is not until five or six months away.
And that primary -- excuse me, it's a caucus. That caucus will be held in Iowa. And if you look four years ago, John McCain was carrying a suitcase from airport to airport and state to state. Mike Huckabee was by the way exactly the same place I was in the polls, 7 percent or 8 percent after the Ames straw poll, and they ended up the two people that were at the very end determining who the nominee was and nobody in the media paid any attention to them now. They weren't considered sexy.
We've got a long way to go between now and February. And again, we have the ideas that are motivating people who get to see the candidates and evaluate them, and they're not seeing a whole lot and evaluating a lot on a national level but they are in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

MORGAN: What do you make of your rivals, Mr. Perry in particular, given he's the latest frontrunner?

SANTORUM: Oh, I think -- you know, again, I go back to my child story that I analogize on my campaign, "The Little Engine That Could." There were lots of shiny engines that come out of the round house and go by and we just hitched up our wagon and just going to hitch up our train and plugging over that mountain right now. And there are candidates that are going to come and go and they're going to get the kind of treatment and inspection that candidates get.
And we've seen every one of these folks who have shot to the top of the ratings end up coming back down to earth once they have to get in front of the cameras in a debate. We haven't seen Governor Perry in a debate yet. We haven't seen him do much in the way of interviews yet.
You know, I've done this for 12 years in the United States Senate where I was under the kind of scrutiny that a national figure is on. I've done it in a state like Pennsylvania where I haven't backed away from any questions or any interviews. I don't hide myself from the public or from the press. I make myself available.
And I do something that at least I get a loss of positive comments when I go to early primary states. I answer the question. I think that's what folks are looking for -- someone authentic. Someone who is available and trustworthy and someone that says they're going to do what they say they're going to do.

MORGAN: OK. Well, if you're in the mood to answer questions, answer this one. How do --

SANTORUM: I figure I promote that, yes.

MORGAN: How do you explain the American public to back a little engine when clearly what the American economy needs is a bloody great steam train?

SANTORUM: Yes. Well, if you look at the plan that I've put forward, it is a pretty powerful locomotive. I come from a little town in western Pennsylvania, Butler, Pennsylvania, which is a little steel town.
When I was growing up as a kid, 21 percent of the people in this country were engaged in manufacturing. Right now, it's down to 9 percent -- not because we haven't created products we can make in America. We're still a great engine of innovation, but that innovative product is being made other places around the world. Why?
Well, because we aren't competitive here and what made us uncompetitive in large part has been government. One big impediment is our tax structure. Our tax structure doesn't match up well against other tax structures in trying to export products, because we have income based tax and not sales based tax. Well, what I do to solve that problem and encourage manufacturing to come back here in the United States is to cut the corporate rate, which is 35 percent for manufacturers and cut it to zero. So, if you manufacture in America, you will pay no corporate tax. That is a powerful incentive to build things and make things and process things here.

MORGAN: How much more tax would you like Warren Buffett to pay?

SANTORUM: Well, Warren Buffett, as you know, pays capital gains taxes. You know, it's great for Warren Buffett to go out and say, you know, raise the income tax. He doesn't pay income tax. He pays capital gains taxes. That's what most of his --
MORGAN: He's invited you -- wait a minute. He's invited you, though, and all presidential candidates he's invited to throw the book at him and to tax him more money. Here's your chance. If you were president, how much would you like to tax Warren Buffett? Set some perimeters because he wants you to.

SANTORUM: Well, I would say to Warren Buffett, there's a Web site. In fact, I use that Web site, actually it was a website when I was in Congress, but there was a place where you can go and you can write a check to the federal government right now to pay down the debt. If Warren Buffett is feeling guilty that he isn't paying enough tax, Warren Buffett can go on a Web site and fill out his credit card which will accept any number he puts in there and he can pay $1 billion to pay down the deficit if he wants to contribute more to the American government.
But the idea because Warren Buffett wants to pay more taxes that we are now going to create a new tax structure for people like Warren Buffett -- again, he isn't going to pay those taxes if we raise the tax on income. We'd only do it if we raise tax on capital gains and if we do that, we're going to hurt more people than Warren Buffett and hurt this economy.
MORGAN: If I'm watching this as ordinary Joe on the street, I'm thinking, well, I would say why isn't Warren Buffett paying income tax and what are you going to do about it to make sure the super rich like him do pay income tax?

SANTORUM: Yes. This is -- that's a great point, Piers, and it's a really great question. And that's sort of -- I think most Americans know the answer to that question, is that if you are rich enough, you can structure the way you receive income in the most tax preferential way. And that's what Warren Buffett has done. I mean, he's done the smart thing and he e says, oh, I'll be willing to pay more income taxes, well, then --

MORGAN: Stop him.


MORGAN: I said stop him. Close the loopholes.

SANTORUM: Well, it's not a loophole. He doesn't --

MORGAN: Why are you laughing?

SANTORUM: He doesn't collect income tax. Well, because he doesn't collect income tax. He can structure it to where he collects his money and makes his money on capital gains. You can raise the capital gains tax but when you do that, you affect ordinary citizens who are investing in the markets who are paying at 15 percent and you don't chase Warren Buffett down and penalize everyone. That's the point.
When you raise taxes going after

MORGAN: It's not the point.

SANTORUM: -- you end up hitting a larger people.

MORGAN: Yes. But it's not the point because Warren Buffett is setting his own perimeters. He's already laid out how he would structure it.
Why don't you in a case of people like him, introduce a new capital gains tax at $20 million or whatever it may be and make it pretty punitive and use the fact that Warren Buffett, America's richest man, in this time of crisis for his country, has decided to put his own money where his mouth is.

SANTORUM: Well, look, Warren Buffett invested a lot of money in Bank of America and a lot of people who own Bank of America shares are very happy about that, by the way, that he took his billions of dollars and put it in Bank of America and now the stock price is up about 30 percent or 40 percent and a lot of folks are very happy about that who are Bank of America shareholders who are a lot of ordinary folks here in America.
So, you know, I would rather see Warren Buffett take that capital instead of giving it to the federal government with what the tax rates are now, deploy it in ways that will get this American economy going again. That's the most important thing we can do with Warren Buffett, not confiscate it, but create an environment that he wants to invest in. And right now, we have a president who is punitive in his regulation and punitive in what he wants to do with increasing taxes and punitive in the way he's formulated his health care policy and that is freezing business from investing.
And the last thing we need to do is create even more punitive laws in place to make the Warren Buffetts of this world either leave the country or even further employ tax lawyers to find their way around the next tax gimmick the federal government lays against them.

MORGAN: Well, you joined a long list of Republicans who refuse to tax Warren Buffett even though he's desperate to be taxed more. So, we'll leave it there. When we come back after the break, I would like to talk to you, Senator, about your views on gay marriage -- and you're not allowed to walk out like Christine O'Donnell. I think you can't because you're actually not in the studio. So, we can pass that barrier.

SANTORUM: So the gay community said, "He's comparing gay sex to incest and polygamy. How dare he do this?" And they have gone out on, I would argue, jihad against Rick Santorum since then.

MORGAN: What's all this about a gay jihad? What do you mean by that?

SANTORUM: Well, you know, a lot has been written about this. I don't need to give a lot of air time to folks who have been rather vile in the way they have attacked me and attacked the position I have and they have distorted the positions I have held on the issue of marriage in America and they have in fact the thing I just talked about, which is that I was talking about a United States Supreme Court case on the issue of marriage and what that court decision would be with respect to how it would play out with respect to marriage.

And the quote that I have been, quote, "criticized" for was almost identical to a quote in a 1980 Supreme Court case where the majority decision basically said what I said. And, by the way, the minority, Justice Scalia in this case -- it was Justice White who was Democratic appointee under John Kennedy who said pretty much exactly what I said and Justice Scalia pretty much said exactly what I said which is that if the Supreme Court establishes a right to consensual sexual activity, then it's hard to draw the line between what sexual activity will be permitted under the Constitution and it leaves open a long list of consensual activities that most people I think would find rather unappealing.
And so, that's what I said. I stand by the comment. Just like I'm sure Justice Scalia and Justice White stood by their comments.

MORGAN: Well, let's clarify a few things. Do you think homosexuality is a sin?

SANTORUM: Well, that's a decision not for a politician. That's a decision for someone who is a cleric. I don't -- I'm not in that line of work.
The line of work I'm in is to -- there are a lot of things in society that are, quote, "sins" or moral wrongs that we don't make illegal. Just because something is immoral or something that is wrong doesn't mean that it should be illegal, and that the federal government or any level of government should involve themselves in.
In the case that I was talking about that started the controversy and the case was Lawrence versus Texas. I said if I was a state legislator in the state of Texas, dealing with the Texas sodomy law, I would have voted against it, because I didn't -- I don't think that's not something the state should involve itself in.
But the bottom line is whether the court then has the right to create new rights and in creating new rights it opens up, in my opinion, Pandora's box, which it did in the case of the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts which led to gay marriage in Massachusetts, gay marriage in Iowa and a whole host of other states.

MORGAN: Let me stop you there. I mean, you keep referring back to this quite complex case. That's fine.
Actually, there are simple arguments here. Michele Bachmann raised this as a huge hot potato. Christine O'Donnell walked of my show when I asked her about same-sex marriage. And these are perfectly justified questions.
You are, I believe, a Catholic.


MORGAN: So, you must have a view about whether homosexuality is a sin. I think if American people want to vote for you either way as president, they are entitled to know an honest answer to a straightforward question. You did invite me to ask you any question I liked.

SANTORUM: Yes, I did. And, of course, the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a sin. I'm Catholic and subscribe to the Catholic Church's teaching.
But that's not relevant from the standpoint of how I view these issues from a public policy of view and that's I answered the question the way I did. From a public policy point of view, there are a lot of things I find immorally -- morally wrong or as you would use the term "sinful" that don't necessarily rise to the level that government should be involved in regulating that activity. And so, I answered it correctly. I answered it, in fact, succinctly and directly, that while I think things are morally wrong, that doesn't rise to the level of government involvement in that activity.

MORGAN: How many sons do you have?

SANTORUM: We have four boys and three girls.

MORGAN: How would you feel if one of your sons turned around one day and said, "Dad, I'm gay"?

SANTORUM: I would embrace them, love them and try to help them through what I would see as a very difficult and troubling time in their lives. I know a lot of gay people. I know a lot of the folks that I've talked to who have gone through this, go through a lot of very difficult times in their life in coming to that decision and struggling with it even after admitting it. So, this is a difficult issue. I understand it's difficult issue. And my job as a father is to love my son unconditionally which I do and would do, and would continue what I could do to support him so he could live a good, a healthy and decent and faithful life.

MORGAN: I guess one of the reasons it's troubling and difficult for people to come out is because of the level of bigotry that's out there against them. I have to say that your views you espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren't they?

SANTORUM: No. I think just because we disagree on public policy, which is what the debate has been about which is marriage, doesn't mean that it's bigotry. Just because you follow a moral code that teaches something wrong doesn't mean that -- are you suggesting that the Bible and that the Catholic Church is bigoted? Well, if that's what you believe, fine.
I think that -- I shouldn't say fine. I don't think it's fine at all. I think that is -- that's contrary to both what we've seen in 2,000 years of human history and Western civilization and trying to redefine something that has been -- that is seen as wrong from the standpoint of the church and saying a church is bigoted because it holds that opinion that is biblically based I think is in itself an act of bigotry.
MORGAN: Well, I'm a Catholic, too. I just think, unfortunately, we're in a different era. We're in a modern world. And the fact --

SANTORUM: I don't think -- Piers, I don't think the truth changes. I don't think right and wrong change based on different eras of time. Things are -- there are some truths that are in fact eternal and are truth and based on nature and nature's law. And that's what the church teaches and that's what the Bible teaches and that's what reason dictates.
And if you look at it from all of those perspectives, I think it's a legitimate point of view. I certainly respect people who disagree with it. But I don't call them bigoted because they disagree with me.

MORGAN: You are undisputedly a good family man. I've read very moving accounts from you and your wife about the loss of your son, Gabriel.
Talk about, couple with what happened with your newest born daughter who is very disabled, you have, again, spoken movingly about that. Have either of those events if you are very, very honest had any impact on your view of the issue of abortion because you are very intransigent about it. You don't believe, like many Republicans, there should be any occasions in which abortion is permissible and yet you have been as a family in two situations where I would imagine it has been suggested to you that it was on option on both occasions.

SANTORUM: It was suggested on both occasions. I do make one exception for the life of the mother. But other than the life of a mother where you have two lives and the government shouldn't involve itself in the choice between two lives. But other than that, I do believe that life begins at conception.
It's not -- I shouldn't say I believe it. It's a biological fact that life begins at conception. That child in the womb is biologically human and completely and fully human and alive. Therefore, a human life.
It's reason that tells me that person that is now alive and human should be given the rights of any person under the Constitution where they are and where they located at that particular time in their life cycle shouldn't determine whether they have constitutional rights or not. So, that's something that I came to really as a matter of study more than anything else and it had to experience it with our son Gabriel, who we were told had a fatal defect and was going to die and we fought for his life in the womb. And we failed.
I mean, I -- you know, it's one of the things that still I think about every day, losing him and not having him as part of our family. But at the same time, he was a great gift to us. His short life had a huge impact on our family and through my wife's book, "Letters to Gabriel," has had a huge impact on thousands and tens of thousands of people across this country who have gone through similar things and it helped them heal.
It's helped save lives of mothers who were counseled for abortion and decided to soldier on and to carry that child to term and in some cases, to unfortunate ends where the child died. But other cases, miraculous things have happened.
So, you know, we feel like in some small way that our experience is an affirmation of -- you know, if we just welcome and accept what God gives us, the gift of a human life, that soul that we join with him in co-creating, that if we just honor that and honor him and accept that challenge that God gives us, that's the best way as painful as it may be, it's the best way to walk away whole and feel that your life and that life meant something and was meaningful for the future.

MORGAN: You did a controversial thing when Gabriel so sadly died. Although I feel it was a great thing you did. And I'll be honest with you. But you took his body back to the rest of your family and you spent the night with your other children cuddling his body and saying prayers and singing to him and so on.
I found that profoundly moving I have to say. I would never criticize you for that. I thought it was an extraordinary courageous thing to do.
What I'm curious about -- because you took a lot of criticism at the time for it -- is what impact it had on your children now that we're a few years on. Could you tell me?

SANTORUM: Yes. First off, the reason that we did that is my wife, Karen, was a neonatal intensive care nurse. She had worked in level 3, which is the most intense NICU unit in Pittsburgh.
And so, for nine years, she dealt with this very issue. And what she learned from that experience was accepting that child in the family and including that child in the family and having the children see their brother and sister in her experience in the NICU, is something that NICU actually encouraged to do.
So, it did create a sense of closure that you had a little brother. He was real. See? He's actually a real person. He actually lived. He actually -- you know, he's a member of our family. He is someone that we can remember and have memories of. Memories are so important for little children and important for all of us.
And so, they have a concrete memory of their little brother and they were able to hold him and know him and we were able to celebrate his life. We didn't see him as something to be ashamed of or something to be disposed of, but something to be loved and accepted for who he was and the life that he lived.
And, you know, I don't know why people who -- we have open caskets and funerals and that seems to be OK. If you do the same for a little child, I think it just shows that some people don't see that child, even as young as they are, as completely human or completely one -- part of the family. We do. And it was a beautiful thing.
I can tell you from our children's perspective, it's something that the older children do remember and it did bring closure to them. And Gabriel even to this day is still very much a part of our family and we hope that he's up there pulling for us and praying for us every day.
MORGAN: I'm sure he is. I do think that was an extraordinary thing that you did. I salute you for it.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, a take on your family, your fans and your feuds.

MORGAN: Back with Senator Rick Santorum.
And, Mr. Santorum, let me turn again to your rivals in the race for White House. Talk about Michele Bachmann for a moment. What do you make of her?

SANTORUM: I think Michele is a dynamic person -- someone who can certainly get out there and rally the crowd and has taken some pretty strong stances on issues. You know, where I differ from Michele is really a matter of proven leadership. I'm someone who has taken strong conservative positions but I've been successful in working with Democrats in passing major pieces of legislation like welfare reform and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Syrian Accountability Act, and the Iran Freedom Support Act.
So, a moral, cultural, as well fiscal and foreign policy issues, I've been able to bridge the gap and get things done, provided leadership. And I think that's where the differentiation is between the two of us in our activity in Washington D.C.
MORGAN: Given the obvious splits between the Tea Party and the more moderate end of the Republicans, what kind of team tag are we going to end up with here? Is the most likely scenario that we have a moderate with a Tea Party candidate as one and running mate? And if so, could it be either way around?
In other words, is that the dream ticket for the GOP really?

SANTORUM: Well, I can't speak for anybody else. If I were to get the nomination, I would pick someone who would be able -- as vice president would carry out what I promised the American public I would do. I think that's the responsibility of a president, is to pick someone who can ably do the job that the people of the United States voted for.
That's who I would choose. I'm not into geographic or ideological balancing. I'm into being authentic to the American public, being forthright about the positions I hold and what we want to do, and trying to paint a very positive -- because I believe it, very positive and upbeat image of what we can do to get this economy going, what we can do to get our country whole again and believing in itself again and understanding the basic values that have made this country the greatest country in the history of the world.

MORGAN: You were described by a fellow senator -- and I would like to warn any viewers of an uneasy disposition here to be cautious, because he said Santorum is Latin for (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Your thoughts?

SANTORUM: That was Bob Kerrey who said it as a joke and apologized not only to me, but told the reporter that it was said in jest. And actually Bob Kerrey and I became friends. I think if you called him -- he was at the News Squad. I don't know if he's still there. While Bob and I disagree on a lot of issues and we probably still do to this day, I don't think he would stand by that, that he said it as a joke and someone overheard it in an elevator.
I'm sure that all of us have said things in jest that we didn't want to have repeated in the newspaper.

MORGAN: Is any part of it true? Have you ever had your moments?

SANTORUM: Well, gosh, of course. Have you? I mean, we've all had our moments.

MORGAN: Yes, many. But I'm not running for president, sadly.

SANTORUM: But, you know, that's part of life. If any of us have not had moments where we haven't behaved as well as we would like to behave, there's something wrong with us. We should be running for something else with a Roman collar, not an open collar.

MORGAN: Have you ever broken the law, senator?

SANTORUM: Well, yeah, I admitted back when I was running for the Senate that when I was in college that I smoked pot, and that was something that I did when I was in college. It was something that I'm not proud of, but I did. And said it was something that I wish I hadn't done. But I did and I admitted it. I would encourage people not to do so. It was not all it's made up to be.

MORGAN: But that's it? No other skeletons you want to get of your chest while you're here?

SANTORUM: I know you're a Catholic, so I'm not in the confessional. I would just say at that point, as far as illegal activity, I think that sort of covers it.

MORGAN: Mr. Santorum, it's been a pleasure talking to you. A lively and provocative exchange I think we would probably both agree.

SANTORUM: Very good, Piers. It was a pleasure being on. I look forward to coming back soon.